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Software piracy dips in some states

California, New York and Utah are among the states with the greatest drops in piracy rates for business software. But overall piracy rates inch higher, an industry group says.

An industry group representing the world's largest software makers on Thursday named California, New York and Utah among the states with the greatest drop in piracy rates for business software.

The study conducted for the Business Software Alliance noted, however, that overall piracy rates inched higher from 2000 to 2001.

Twenty-five percent of business software in use in the United States was pirated in 2001--up 1 percentage point from the previous year, according the alliance's research. The study also quantified the damage to the software industry and the national economy from continued software piracy, asserting that in 2001 it cost the United States $1.8 billion in retail sales of business software and more than 111,000 jobs.

Piracy "depletes available funding for valuable research and development and causes staggering job losses (and) billions of dollars in lost wages and tax revenues," Robert Holleyman, the alliance's chief executive, said in a statement.

California's piracy rate dropped from 30.7 percent in 2000 to 18.5 percent in 2001, according to the study. New York's rate slid from 16.3 percent to 11.9 percent. And Utah's rate slipped from 37.5 percent to 27.6 percent.

Other states that showed the biggest percentage reduction in piracy from 2000 to 2001 were Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada and New Hampshire.

Holleyman said the alliance encourages businesses to monitor their software closely and to promote employee compliance. Steps include adopting a corporate policy on compliance with copyright laws, auditing company computers, documenting software purchases, understanding licensing agreements, and educating IT managers and employees of their obligations under copyright laws.

Alliance members include Microsoft, Apple Computer, Adobe Systems and Network Associates.